Gonoreas – Minotaur

Rating: 3.5/5
Distributor/label URL: www.artgatesrecords.com
Released: 2018
Buy Album [URL]: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Minotaur-Explicit-Gonoreas/dp/B0793QGNC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1522189663&sr=8-1&keywords=gonoreas+minotaur
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Gonoreas/

Band line-up:

Leandro Pacheco – Vocals
Damir Eskic – Lead/Solo Guitars
Pat Rafaniello – Bass Guitar
Stefan Hösli – Drums

Tracklisting:
  1. Bloodstones
  2. Seeds Of A New Future
  3. Puzzle
  4. Eris
  5. Price Of Eternity
  6. Fragments
  7. Behind The Wall
  8. Minotaur
  9. Transcendence
  10. The Lead Masks Of Vintem Hill
Review:

Gonoreas are a band enjoying their second coming. Their first album ‘Outbreak’ emerged in 2002, their second album arrived some 5 years later in 2007, but in 2009 they re-emerged. However, it was another 2 years before ‘Apocalypse’ saw the light of day. Since then they have been more productive with 2013’s ‘Mask of Shame’ and 2015’s ‘Destructive Ways’. Already enjoying success through constant touring in Europe, Japan & Brazil, with ‘Minotaur’ they have their hearts set on world domination. The album was worked on at Littlecreek Studios in Switzerland and was produced, mixed and Mastered in joint collaboration between the band & V.O. Pulver

Gonoreas are a band rooted firmly in the metal, storytelling bracket of Scandinavian bands, rich in guitar riffs and imagination, with imagery and symbolism at the centre of their songwriting. However, in a market so saturated with amazing bands, they will struggle to stand out from the crowd, and their one hint of something more interesting is not capitalised upon. That is a shame but hopefully in time they will find the courage to explore the possibilities further.

An unexpected opening track, ‘Bloodstones’ has an exotic, hypnotic, instrumental start, very evocative of storytelling, mythology and eastern influences. In stark contrast, ‘Seeds Of A New Future’ is a full on 80’s styled metal anthem. Pacheco’s vocals are similar in style to Bruce Dickenson, with an urgency and desperation welling within the high pitched notes. It has the typical guitar riffs and thundering drums one would expect from a 80’s metal power band. They execute the style well, and it should appeal to fans of bands like Helloween, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Racing on, the tracks seem quick, energetic and fast paced. They almost seem over before they have begun, sweeping the listener on with them; ‘Puzzle’ has frantic drumming that drives the song, hardly giving you time to savour the lyrics or melody before it closes, it seems a lot shorter than its 5 minutes length due to the speed of the rhythm.

A relentless rhythm embodies ‘Eris’, which displays the storytelling skills of the band, something Swiss bands are often good at. Its changes of tempo give it more interest and creativity without it losing energy or power. A bleak picture is drawn in a mix of growls and seething vocals with ‘Price Of Eternity’, the darkness of the story echoed by the feverish drums. The chorus on ‘Fragments’ has a hook with a strong melody, contrasting with the gravelly verses, punctuated by brutal growls. Played with acoustic guitars, harmonies and sweet despair ‘Behind The Wall’ is the ballad of the album, and has a beauty that captivates. Spanish chords underline the emotions of the piece.

The longest song of the album is the title track, ‘Minotaur’. It certainly showcases the versatility of Pacheco’s vocals, as his shrillness is in stark contrast with the harmonies & growls he has shown on previous tracks. The song is also quite Labyrinthine in itself, as it twists and changes direction throughout.  ‘Transcendence’ returns us to the start. Had the band done more songs like that, the album would have been a more interesting piece of work, but there is no doubt that as musicians they are at a high standard. Breaking into the final track, ‘The Lead Masks Of Vintem Hill’ journeys back to the 80’s again, and is a suitable conclusion to what is an enjoyable listen.

Overall this is a pleasant listen, it is well constructed and competent musicians have given their best to create a piece of work they can be proud of. It is on one hand quite contemporary and on the other hand quite stuck in a decade long since left behind, as it mixes the best of both era’s. It’s certainly worth a few listens but doesn’t have anything that marks it out as being memorable in years to come. Nothing to offend the listener, but sadly nothing to compel them to listen again either, it needs to take bigger risks and not repeat things done before.

Review By Lisa Nash
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